Page images
PDF
EPUB

British Empire. But as the love of liberty, and attachments to the real interests and just rights of America, outweigh every other consideration, we resolve that we will exert every power within us for the defence of American liberty, and for the supporting of her just rights and privileges; not in any precipitate, riotous, and tumultuous manner; but when regularly called forth by the unanimous voice of our countrymen.

"Resolved, That we entertain the greatest respect for His Excellency the Right Honourable Lord Dunmore, who commanded the expedition against the Shawanees, and who, we are confident, underwent the great fatigue of this singular campaign from no other motive than the true interest of this country.”

Thus closed the expedition of John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, the last British governor of the province of Virginia. He arrived at Williamsburgh, in that province, on the 4th of December, 1774; but he never returned to the valley of the Ohio, to conclude a treaty of peace and friendship with the Indians.

In the course of the years 1775 and 1776, by means of the operations of Land Companies, and the perseverance of individual adventurers, several hundred settlers were added to the white population of the country lying between the Allegheny mountains and the river Ohio. In the mean time the English colonies in North America, acting wisely and justly in this instance, renounced their allegiance to Great Britain, and declared that they were, "and of right ought to be, free and independent states.” By the authority of the Continental Congress, commissioners were appointed to reside at Fort Pitt for the purpose of making treaties with the Indians in that region; and

*On the 17th of March, 1775, Col. Ricbard Henderson and company, at a public council held on a branch of the river Holston, obtained from three distinguished Cherokee chiefs a deed for the territory bounded as follows: "Beginning on the Ohio river at the mouth of Kentucky, Chenoca, or what, by the English, is called Louisa river; from thence, running up the said river and the most northwardly branch of the same, to the head spring thereof; thence, a southeast course to the top ridge of Powel's mountain ; thence westwardly along the ridge of the said mountain unto a point from which a northwest course will hit or strike the head spring of the most southwardly branch of Cumberland river; thence down the said river, including all its waters to the Ohio river; thence up the said river as it mean. ders to the beginning, &c." For this territory it appears that the Cherokee Indians recei. ved from Henderson and company “the sum of ten thousand pounds of lawful money of Great Britain," or " ten thousand pounds sterling in merchandise.”—[Vide Butler's His. Kentucky, 2d ed. 14, 503.

messengers were sent with pacific overtures from the new government to the southern and the northwestern tribes. To defeat the object of this policy, the British commandants and the loyal British traders in the country northwest of the Ohio, encouraged and supported by a considerable number of French auxiliaries, incited the Indians to assail the frontiers of the confederated states. From the speeches of two distinguished Delaware chiefs, Buckongahelas and White Eyes, an inference may be drawn concerning the nature of the appeals which, about this time, were made to the Indians. Buckongahelas, who was the friend of the king of Great Britain, spoke to the Indians thus: “Friends! Listen to what I say to you! You see a great and powerful nation divided ! You see the father fighting against the son, and the son against the father! The father has called on his Indian children, to assist him in punishing his children, the Americans, who have become refractory. I took time to consider what I should do; whether or not I should receive the hatchet of my father, to assist him. At first I looked upon it as a family quarrel, in which I was not interested. However, at length, it appeared to me that the father was in the right; and his children deserved to be punished a little. That this must be the case, I concluded from the many cruel acts his offspring had committed from time to time on his Indian children, in encroaching on their land, stealing their property, shooting at, and murdering, without cause, men, women, and children. Yes! even murdering those, who at all times had been friendly to them, and were placed for protection under the roof of their father's house — the father himself standing sentry at the door at the time. * Friends! often has the father been obliged to settle, and make amends for the wrongs and mischiefs done to us by his refractory children; yet these do not grow better. No: they remain the same; and will continue to be so, as long as we have any land left us. Look back

* Alluding to the murder of the Conestoga Indians. --See Gordon's His. Pa. 405.

at the murders committed by the Long-knives on many of our relations, who lived peaceable neighbors to them on the Ohio. Did they not kill them without the least provocation? Are they, do you think, better now than they were then?"*

At this period a Delaware chief whose Indian name was Koguethagechton, but who was called, by the Americans, Captain White Eyes, lived in the valley of the river Muskingum. In the course of his efforts to explain the causes which produced the Revolutionary war, and to establish relations of friendship between his tribe and the United States, he sometimes addressed the Delawares, in substance, as follows:—"Suppose a father had a little son whom he loved and indulged while young, but growing up to be a youth, began to think of having some help from him; and making up a small pack, bade him carry it for him. The boy cheerfully takes the pack, following his father with it. The father, finding the boy willing and obedient, continues in his way; and as the boy grows stronger, so the father makes the pack in proportion larger: yet as long as the boy is able to carry the pack, he does so without grumbling. At length, however, the boy, having arrived at manhood, while the father is making up the pack for him, in comes a person of an evil disposition, and learning who was the carrier of the pack, advises the father to make it heav. ier, for surely the son is able to carry a large pack. The father listening rather to the bad adviser, than consulting his own judgment and the feelings of tenderness, follows the advice of the hard-hearted adviser, and makes up a heavy load for his son to carry. The son, now grown up, examining the weight of the load he is to carry, addresses the parent in these words: • Dear father, this pack is too heavy for me to carry; do pray lighten it: I am willing to do what I can; but I am unable to carry this load.' The father's heart having by this time become hardened, and the bad adviser calling to him, whip him, if he disobeys and refuses to carry the pack,' now in a peremptory tone, orders his son to take up the pack and carry it off, or he will whip him, and already takes up a stick to beat him. *So!' says the son, “am I to be served thus, for not doing what I am unable to do! Well, if entreaties avail nothing with you, father- and it is to be decided by blows whether or not I am able to carry a pack so heavy- then I have no other choice left me, but that of resisting your unreasonable demand, by my strength; and so, striking each other, we may see who is the

*Heckewelder.

strongest.""*

*Heckewelder.-[The speeches which were delivered by Buckongahelas and others, in favor of the king of Great Britain, were prepared by officers in the British Indian depart. ment; and the reported speech of Captain White Eyes, in favor of the American colonies, was prepared by a committee of the Continental Congress, adopted by that body on the 13th of July, 1775, and delivered to an assemblage of Indians at Pittsburgh, in the fall of the same year.-Vide Am, Archives, 4th series, ii, p. 1880.

CHAPTER VI.

The events which have been related in the preceding chapter, show that, before the close of the year 1774, the government of Great Britain abandoned the project of confining the settlements of the English colonists in America to the regions lying on the eastern side of the Allegheny mountains. Indeed, the British ministry, soon after the year 1765, began to perceive that this project was impracticable. Although they rejected various propositions for erecting new colonies in the interior parts of North America, yet this policy did not materially check the growth of the English settlements in the west. In 1769, Lieutenant-Colonel John Wilkins,* British cominandant at Fort Chartres, in the Illinois country, granted several large tracts of land to English traders. This officer declared that these grants were made, because “the cultivation of lands not then appropriated, was essentially necessary and useful towards the better peopling and settlement of the said country, as well as highly advantageous to his Majesty's service, in the raising, producing, and supplying, provisions for his Majesty's troops, then stationed, or thereafter to be stationed, in the said country of the Illinois." +

On the 5th of July, 1773, at a public council held at the village of Kaskaskia, an association of English traders and merchants, who styled themselves “the Illinois Land Company,"

,” obtained from ten chiefs, of the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Peoria tribes, a deed for two very large tracts of land on

*This officer signed his name and title thus: -- "John Wilkins, Esquire. LieutenantColonel of his Majesty's Eighteenth or Royal Regiment of Ireland, Governor and Commandant throughout the Illinois country."

fLaws of the U. S. i, 509.

« PreviousContinue »